It was a long time ago, three years back, that I posted “Homeland Insecurity”, probably the most difficult post I had to write. The link is here but the story is simple enough. A daughter, an imminent marriage, a visit from the Fed’s… A soon to be son-in-law was being investigated for trading underage pictures. For reasons we can only guess, the problem went away – lack of the damning computer, issues of evidence: we don’t really know nor do we really want to. What we do know is that as time elapsed his family was quick to believe him, believe they weren’t really underage, a Playboy moment in the internet age.
Bill and Anna saw a therapist, talked, and to our horror decided to reschedule the wedding. Our family, immediate and extended, would have done anything to stop it but ultimately it was the choice of our daughter and concerned as we were, she is still our daughter. I can feel the cringing starting but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The wedding is rescheduled and we are troubled, deeply troubled. Time for a talk, not with Anna – she knows our views, time for a chat with Bill, a kitchen table talk. We sit across from each other and I express my concerns, my deep concerns. I don’t really accept that he was investigated for having pictures of buxom sixteen year olds. I tell him that the marriage is a big responsibility. He listens, sympathetically nodding; he assures me, he would never hurt my daughter.
I remain concerned, look him in the eyes and tell him “You can’t choose your orgasms.” I stress that what excited him once, will yet again. He listens, not so happy now. That night my daughter tells me that he was okay with our talk, okay except for that one comment, that one uncalled for comment. I back off – my point was made, no need for a war.
This summer was off to a quiet start and one week night while laying in bed with Phil the phone rings – yes, a late night call. It is close to midnight and it is Anna. She is in her newly purchased house after a day of work and evening of school, resting her pregnant body. Yes, she is with child, six months worth. And Bill is missing. Family is gathering, police are called: maybe a wreck on a highway. Bill is responsible, not one to disappear, not one to ignore his phone. Finally at 2 AM the police are there to take the missing persons report when they get some news – he has been arrested one county over. No word on why, the arraignment will be in the morning.
Now we are secretly hoping for something “easy” – drunk driving, disorderly conduct or the like. Hope as we do, I can only think of one thing: you can’t choose your orgasms. The next day we gather at the courthouse and get the word. A police officer saw a car parked in front of a school and went to investigate: Bill, pants down, in the act, a fifteen year old girl with him. A life, in an instant unraveled. No, many lives, so many lives, unraveled in that instant.
I would love to say that was the worst: it was not. A month later a second arrest: earlier in the summer there was a thirteen and fourteen year old, a drive back to his house, my daughter’s house, and a sexual act in the bedroom – in my daughter’s bedroom. No low bail this time, the courts seem to finally get it.
What is there to say? I am a proud grandpa, the divorce is in the works, the house sold, the bedroom furniture abandoned. Bill is in jail – a plea bargain in the works, presumably real jail time in his future.
Over the last few months, in different venues, I have recalled the kitchen table conversation and I have recounted “the” quote and the response. Looking back clearly it did touch some sort of nerve. But what has been most fascinating has been the reaction of others. Five simple words, a mere six syllables and yet such power, such discomfort. Carrie has suggested that I lose the story, clearly more trouble than it is worth. But I am loathe to acquiesce, to distance myself from what I hold to be such a basic truth: “you can’t choose your orgasm.” True for him, true for me, true for us all. For most of us a truth and a non-issue but for the sick few a sad truth that is inescapable.